Pharyngula

The feeble Ken Ham show

I knew the internet would come through with just the right clip and the relevant extracted words, so I wouldn’t have to sit through the wretched miasma of the whole O’Reilly Factor to see Krauss vs. Ham, and here it is.

Jason has a transcript, if you’d prefer to read text rather than watch some guys talk.

Krauss did OK: he was assertive, like you have to be on these shows, and he got in one or two strong sentences (ahh, for a television show that permitted people to express whole paragraphs of ideas…but I dream). I’m not a big fan of Krauss’s strategy of conceding too much credibility to theism, though, so maybe it’s just as well he didn’t get to say overmuch on that them. I was just starting to get irritated at his claim that “science doesn’t disprove the fact that there potentially is purpose to the universe” — a half truth; science also doesn’t disprove the fact that there are potentially space-monkeys living on Uranus, either, and at the same time there is evidence that the universe is not demonstrating much in the way of purpose — but then Ken Ham was conveniently there to draw my ire.

Ken Ham definitely gives off a creepy vibe. He’s a weird-looking guy, with dead eyes and a lipless gash of a mouth, and he only looks uncomfortable in these situations where he’s not preaching off a script. If you browse around youtube, you’ll find several recent clips of Ham giving interviews, and you can tell when he’s on script—he says the same things every time! The bits where he starts talking about “PhD scientists, to show them that we can use the science of genetics, biology, geology, astronomy, anthropology, to confirm the Bible’s history” the words are rote, repeated in just about every interview. They’re also false. Science contradicts his claim that the earth is 6,000 years old.

One interesting revelation was that their opening day attendance was 4,000 people. That’s pretty good, in a sense, but in others it’s not very impressive. This was the opening day of a fake “museum” that has been getting extensive media attention, and most of the US news reports have been credulous and fawning. Four thousand is inconsequential. Their attendance is going to drop off rapidly from this point on, and after all the skeptics make their one-time-only visits, there isn’t going to be much to draw in repeat visitors. Real museums have to sink a lot of money and effort into ongoing research and new exhibits; they aren’t dead and dusty halls of unchanging eternal truths, but dynamic reflections of work that is progressing.

Ken Ham’s folly is as dead as his eyes. He’s going to be relying on church groups busing in captive coffles of visitors after this, which is admittedly a fairly large audience, but it’s questionable whether that’s going to be sufficient to maintain even a static institution of that size. And remember: we’re working to erode away his audience by turning religion into a hazy memory, and without the lies and delusions promoted by the churches, Ham’s cabinet of curiousities is going to be as barren as a tomb. Let’s make marketing to the gullible religious as futile as pinning marketshare growth on appeal to the Shakers.

Comments

  1. #1 another
    May 29, 2007

    Hey, at least the Shakers left some useful artifacts behind. More than we’ll be able to say about the Hamsters.

  2. #2 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    Hen Kam has by far the scariest beard I’ve ever seen. Beards like that should be prohibited by law.

    On second thoughts, it could be the combination with said eyes. And mouth. Probably nose, too.

  3. #3 Jake Blues
    May 29, 2007

    Surely they could have found someone better than this guy to defend our side against biblical lunacy.

    I wonder if they consciously avoid bringing someone on who would slice Ham up into little pieces?

  4. #4 Curt Cameron
    May 29, 2007

    I don’t get the Fox News channel, but if this is any indication, I certainly am not missing anything worthwhile. The host basically let Ham and Krauss say a few words, then used that as a lauch pad for his own stream of uninformed opinion.

    Is it always like that?

  5. #5 Clayton
    May 29, 2007

    “We’re out of time guys, I think reasonable guys like you can get together and agree there is a certain mystery in life, a certain mystery in life, no one has the answer.”

    I think it’s safe to say “reasonable” is now officially broken beyond repair.

  6. #6 MartinM
    May 29, 2007

    Is it always like that?

    Not at all, no. Sometimes the host interrupts the guests before they get through their few words.

  7. #7 Reginald Selkirk
    May 29, 2007

    From Jason’s transcript:

    HAM: Well, there are many in the church that would say that evolution and creation are compatible.

    The church? Which church? As if there is a single Christian church rather than thousands of variants with wildly different beliefs!

    KRAUSS: I think it’s worth jumping in here, there are literally millions of people who are people of faith who understand that science tells us how old the world is. And they don’t have to feel like they’re atheists because they don’t buy this nonsense.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. What’s wrong with feeling like you’re an atheist? It works for me.

  8. #8 coturnix
    May 29, 2007

    I was quite dissapointed by the coverage by NPR – they are usually better than that. While some of the stuff they aired said by parents/visitors was scary to to people like us, they had only one sentence by anyone from our side (Krauss again) and they never assertively used the word “ridiculous” to describe something that is ridiculous. Well, at least we got some descriptions of exhibits and some sound effects. Bah!

    I was also struck by the count of 4000. I thought it was pitiful. Hekc, there were 5000 people here, just locals, on a cold winter day when Edwards showed up to chat to people in front of his campaign HQ after he announced his run. For such a Big Event, 4000 was really tiny and gives me optimism that the museum will go bankrupt within a year.

  9. #9 12xuser
    May 29, 2007

    What is up with that creepy chinbeard? How did that beard with no moustache become so popular with the fringiest right wing religious nuts? You never see anyone else sporting that style. Is there some historical figure that started that?

  10. #10 Keith Sader
    May 29, 2007

    Geez, the Fox news ‘moderator’ is terrible.

    Hi my bias is religious, let me inject my invisible sky-avenger of choice into this discussion at all points!!!

    Yeesh.

  11. #11 TR Carroll
    May 29, 2007

    @ 4
    No , usually the Faux News Network has only apologists for the rightwing conservative agenda represented .

  12. #12 T. Bruce McNeely
    May 29, 2007

    What is up with that creepy chinbeard?… Is there some historical figure that started that?

    Sneezey? Grumpy? Happy? Doc?

    Not Dopey, of course.

  13. #13 Callandor
    May 29, 2007

    It’s so low-brow, but I can’t help but think it every single time I see Ken Ham: he looks exactly like the man-ape pictures he derides for “refuting” evolution.

    Oh, and the creep factor. Definitely. Though, I also can’t help but be a little creeped out by anyone who believes in biblical literalism.

  14. #14 beepbeepitsme
    May 29, 2007

    It is with great relief to myself that Ken Ham decided to immigrate to join his fundie nutjobs in the US rather than stay here.

  15. #15 beepbeepitsme
    May 29, 2007

    Or is that emigrate? Either way, it means the Creationist Delusion Museum exists in the US and not here.

  16. #16 davescot
    May 29, 2007

    Cm n y ld frt PZ whn r y gng t blg bt th jy f nc ttty-fck? Jggs r jst ymmy šŸ˜‰

    Prhps Slm wld tmp y? knw ‘d lv t ply wth hr dlghtfl fnbgs ()(0)…..

    http://www.th-dl.rg/wp-cntnt/plds/2006/11/slmttts.jpg

    Smthng Kn Hm & PZ cld gr prhps?

  17. #17 dorid
    May 29, 2007

    science also doesn’t disprove the fact that there are potentially space-monkeys living on Uranus, either

    Not so. I’m sure I can scientifically prove that there are NO space-monkeys living on MYanus.

  18. #18 PZ Myers
    May 29, 2007

    Hey, you’ve still got Carl Wieland! And no, we don’t want him.

  19. #19 TheBrummell
    May 29, 2007

    I’m less optimistic about the dismal finances of the place. Ham raised, what, $25 million from donations to get the place started, right? So, presumably no debt, no lease, no mortgage. I think we can safely assume the capital costs have been covered.

    As for recurring costs, those are basically going to be utilities (electricity, water, sewage) and salaries of employees – am I missing anything else? I don’t think Ham will have much trouble covering those costs. The whole program has always been about extracting money from the credulous – admission charges merely formalize that process.

  20. #20 davescot
    May 29, 2007

    Slm s gttng ll mlky mlky….ymmy šŸ˜‰

    http://www.dlstd.cm/nd/7883

  21. #21 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    Ok, who of you guys let yer six year old kid loose in the thread? I’m afraid he’s starting to bug me.

  22. #22 PZ Myers
    May 29, 2007

    Scotty or davescot or whoever you are: you are getting old and tiresome. While this may be a sex-positive blog, it is not a sex-objectification blog: women are not ambulatory support systems for adipose tissue. And leaping into comment threads to do nothing but babble about breasts is trolling.

    This is your only warning. Knock it off, actually engage the subject being discussed, or go away.

  23. #23 notthedroids
    May 29, 2007

    I was actually surprised by how telegenic Ham was, and how un-so Krauss was.

    I also found it interesting how quickly the host hopped over the plausibility of young-earth creationism (as if to say it obviously wasn’t) to questions more intelligent-design-oriented.

  24. #24 MKR
    May 29, 2007

    I give this monument to stupidity 6 months. They’ll have to sell it off, and someone will turn it in to a science fiction museum.

    I wouldn’t mind a science fiction museum. šŸ™‚

  25. #25 PZ Myers
    May 29, 2007

    The other thing about costs: he can also rely on volunteers from the local churches, it’s not as if he needs informed people with educations updating the material. And if he gets desperate, he can always pull a Hovind and pay people under the table to avoid taxes.

    Speaking of which…does anyone know if Ham is claiming a religious exemption from taxation on his monstrosity?

  26. #26 davescot
    May 29, 2007

    Wll PZ t l, w r nly nmls (whch s cl) s cn’t w jst b hnst bt t.

    ll nvrsl mrl prncpls r dl fncs, s dn’t ffr yr pthtc lbrl snsblts bt ‘wmn’ nd thr ‘bjctfctn’ f hmns ddn’t bjctfy nn f s wld b hr! ctlly mst wmn knw lv bng trtd lk sx bjct whn th md strks thm. nd f crs rp fntss r bqts.

    Lst’s pssn wll b srvd; t dmnds, t mltts, t tyrnnzs.

    Sx s s mprtnt s tng r drnkng nd w ght t llw th n pptt t b stsfd wth s lttl rstrnt r fls mdsty s th thr.

    Wmn’s dstny s t b wntn, lk th btch, th sh-wlf; sh mst blng t ll wh clm hr. Thy ll lv bt f rgh fckng šŸ˜‰

    Lt’s fc rlty chck; th th grt trnl trths tht bnd ll mn tgthr th whl wrld vr r tht w ll wsh t t, t sht, t fck, t kll, nd thn w d.

    hmmmm…..http://www.tnbbs.rg/mg/pst/20060906/fth_hg_bbs_01.jpg

    vn Kn Hm wld py t jzz ll vr ths ppps – bt h’s s fckd p h wld b rckd wth glt (h h – rckd gt t?) nd thnk t ws sn. Srly PZ y tk th mr prgrssv vw?

    [our breast-obsessed troll is now banned]

  27. #28 Spanish Inquisitor
    May 29, 2007

    For a science museum, he really starts out on the wrong foot:

    you know,

    No, actually I don’t

    through this nation whole generations of young people are being taught in the public schools there’s no God, life evolved by natural processes, they’re really just animals in the fight for survival, and that very much determines their morality, how they view themselves, their purpose and meaning in life, and so on.

    Straw man alert. Whole generations are being taught there’s no God? What schools are this Australian talking about?

    And what we wanted to do, was to give them information that’s been censored from the culture, information that helps them understand that mainstream science,

    Who knew the Bible was so heavily censored? The greatest selling book of all time, and no one can get their hands on a copy?

    I mean we have PhD scientists that work at our ministry, who received their PhD’s from secular universities

    Whoop-dee-do. But do they have the foggiest idea of what they are talking about? That’s the question of the day.

  28. #29 Susan B.
    May 29, 2007

    What makes me sad is that it’s really quite a beautiful piece of work. The exhibits are beautifully done–it’s clear that a lot of time, effort, and money has gone into their design and it has paid off. I’ve been to plenty of real museums where the exhibits weren’t half so nice, dynamic, and engaging. It’s depressing to see such nice work put into something with so stupid and harmful a purpose.

  29. #30 sailor
    May 29, 2007

    “Not so. I’m sure I can scientifically prove that there are NO space-monkeys living on MYanus.”
    Not if they are supernatural and invisible like god! You could have a whole planetfull of them playing around there. Ever think of that when take a crap?

  30. #31 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    “… and of course rape fantasies are ubiquitous.”

    Whoa. That was one of the more disgusting outpourings of misogyny I’ve seen online. Do you have any notion of how much suffering is caused to women worldwide because of sexually related violence? If you’re a creationist troll trying to convey the sterotype of atheists as morally corrupted, just cut it. We won’t buy into that.

  31. #32 Oh, fishy, fishy, fishy, fish!
    May 29, 2007

    The thing is that to say a lie it only takes 10 seconds, to refute it takes so much more time. I would think that to actually have a grasp of how powerful evolution is you can’t just explain it, you probably need to read at least one good science book about it. My guess is that from all the people I know, very few would say that ID is just stupid, if presented “both sides” carefully. Needless to say, many of them, agnostic or theistic, are suckers for Chopra and his ilk, and even for that The Secret bullshit.

  32. #33 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    … not to mention harassing women online. Get lost.

  33. #34 abeja
    May 29, 2007

    forsen: uh-oh, you’re feeding the troll. Please don’t feed the troll! Even with PZ’s busy schedule, I have confidence that he will soon take action and we will see the troll disemvoweled if not outright banned.

  34. #35 llewelly
    May 29, 2007

    beepbeepitsme:

    It is with great relief to myself that Ken Ham decided to immigrate to join his fundie nutjobs in the US rather than stay here.
    Or is that emigrate? Either way, it means the Creationist Delusion Museum exists in the US and not here.

    It’s all a matter of perspective. To you in Australia, it’s ’emigrate’. To us in the USA, it’s ‘immigrate’ .
    It’s something I learned growing up in Salt Lake City, near Emigration Canyon, through which the Mormons intend (I imagine) to leave the Salt Lake Valley.

  35. #36 Iain Walker
    May 29, 2007

    If I want to read the rantings of a creepy misogynistic fuckwit, I think I’ll stick to Leviticus.

  36. #37 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    abeja, you’re probably right. It’s just that know many young men at men my age, religious and irreligious alike, who secretly harbour quite disgusting attitudes towards women. Therefore, I just have a very hard time to sit out and leave things like that unsaid. But sure, no more goodies for the goblin.

  37. #38 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    ah, typo.

  38. #39 amph
    May 29, 2007

    @ #9 & #12:

    Possibly, Ham wants to look like a scientist, so:
    This must be the ‘historical figure’ he is imitating: The famous homo universalis Professor Bar(n)abas from the Belgian Suske en Wiske (Spike and Suzy) cartoon. Prof. Barabas, however, was a good guy and I am sure he accepted Evolution.

  39. #40 Spanish Inquisitor
    May 29, 2007

    Oh good. The # of posts are declining. That means we lost a troll.

  40. #41 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    Well, seems like the righteous judgement just struck down from Above.

  41. #42 CalGeorge
    May 29, 2007

    Fox News guy:

    I Do read the Bible.”

    Phew! His producers were sweating it until he got that line out.

  42. #43 YSUBassoon
    May 29, 2007

    Would it bother Ken Ham to know how much he resembled a monkey? Could it be we have finally found our missing link?

  43. #44 John Danley
    May 29, 2007

    Unless Mr. Ham decides to make it into an amusement park for believers.

  44. #45 Kristine
    May 29, 2007

    More than we’ll be able to say about the Hamsters.

    The Hamsters! Bwahaha, brilliant! Let’s all use it all the time.

    In the back of the book segment tonight

    The very back of the book.

    Some people think it does more harm than good

    Such intrepid reporting! And THE REST OF US think it’s for flunkies.

    It is with great relief to myself that Ken Ham decided to immigrate…or is that emigrate?

    It’s migrate, BeepBeep. We haven’t gotten our innoculation plan working yet.

    I give this monument to stupidity 6 months. They’ll have to sell it off, and someone will turn it in to a science fiction museum. I wouldn’t mind a science fiction museum.

    I think that’s really a good idea! They’ve got dinosaurs; just add some UFOs and a dash or two of time travel scenarios, a few space pirates, and a lizard breaking out of the egg in the manger. Man, what I could do with the place. Such great party ideas I have!

  45. #46 forsen
    May 29, 2007

    I have already agreed not to feed the trolls, even if they go sockpuppeting.

  46. #47 BlueIndependent
    May 29, 2007

    Well Krauss won this one hands down. Ham only got this 20-30 seconds to speak, and it was what everyone expected, sympathizer or otherwise.

    I mark this 4.5 minute video in the Odd Win column for Faux.

  47. #48 Scott Hatfield
    May 29, 2007

    A few comments:

    As long as there are substantial number of Christian congregations committed to YEC, there will be a built-in audience for Ham’s museum.

    His museum is fully-capitalized, beyond a doubt, but he will continue to solicit financial support to modernize, improve and promote access to the museum (“scholarships” and the like), and he will no doubt receive that financial support.

    So don’t expect him to go belly-up any time soon. I do agree with PZ in a sense: you have to go after his base of support.

  48. #49 Calladus
    May 29, 2007

    After spending half the night going through the Creation Science Museum entries linked from here on Pharyngula (BTW – great job PZ!) I woke up with the following Onion-style news headline stuck in my head and wanted to share:

    Animatronic T-Rex Malfunctions, Devours Creation Science Museum Founder!

    Sorry, I know it’s cruel to wish ill on others…

    Still, I can’t help thinking that the Insurance claim would call it, “an act of God.”

  49. #50 Christian Burnham
    May 29, 2007

    I’m going to stand up for Ken Ham here.

    Ham is right! Taking the Bible at face value shows that evolution is indeed incompatible with scripture. There is not the slightest mention of evolution in any of the book of the Bible.

    Any Christian who accepts evolution is a hypocrite on some level. Krauss doesn’t seem to understand this quite simple point.

  50. #51 Robster, FCD
    May 29, 2007

    Kristine @ 45,

    Raptor Jesus went extinct for our sins.

  51. #52 MartinC
    May 29, 2007

    Wait a second, stone age attitude, comes from an island in south east asia,…. I just knew I’d seen that beard before.
    http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2004/10/28/main-realhobbit.jpg

  52. #53 CalGeorge
    May 29, 2007

    4K visitors on day one?

    4,000 x 19.95 (+ $5 for planetarium) = $99,800.

    Only 270 days to go to recoup the 27 million.

  53. #54 llewelly
    May 29, 2007

    Straw man alert. Whole generations are being taught there’s no God?

    Whole generations are taught that God responds to prayers. Since prayers have no demonstrable effect, this teaches empirically-inclined folk that either there is no God, or God does not respond to prayers, in which case, one may ask what has become of the original assertion.
    It is only a straw man because humans default to intentionalist and association based thinking.
    There are many widespread efforts to teach people empiricism. So far, they do not reach anywhere near enough folk to justify any claim on the scale of ‘whole generations’. To many in the reality-based or skeptic movement, universal education in empiricism is a important goal. Teaching empiricism has the side effect of teaching that there is no god. Barring a miracle, universal education in empiricism would indeed result in whole generations of atheists.

  54. #55 Fatboy
    May 29, 2007

    Christian @ 50 – I agree that the Bible and evolution are incompatible, but in regard to your last paragraph, it all depends on how liberal of a Christian it is. Even though most Christians claim the Bible is divinely inspired, there’s no logical reason it would have to be. There’s the possibility that God exists, Jesus existed, and people have witnessed miracles. And then humans have been entirely responsible for writing down everything they think they know about God in scriptures, some of which got compiled into the Bible, and has been corrupted by other humans. Yes, it’s very implausible, and I don’t believe it anymore (I did for about half a year before I finally rejected Christianity altogether), but not all Christians who believe in evolution are necessarily hypocrites.

  55. #56 Jefe
    May 29, 2007

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=3f0f7bed-167c-43a6-b5a2-957f78f1a061

    Oldest evidence of Earth life found
    Publication: CAH – Calgary Herald (new)

    Byline: Randy Boswell

    A Canadian-led team of scientists has discovered what they
    say is the oldest indisputable evidence of life on Earth — the
    fossilized trackways of slithering microbes in a
    3.35-billion-year-old rock from Australia.

    Previous studies — including one led by Banerjee in 2004 that fixed a 3.5-billion-year-old age to fossilized microbe trails found in South Africa — have been criticized for relying on techniques that dated surrounding rock rather than the “ichnofossil” tracks themselves.

    Banerjee told CanWest News Service Monday the dating of the Australian fossils is “quite unique” because the researchers used a state-of-the-art, laser-plasma mass spectrometer at the University of Alberta to precisely target tiny minerals and organic residues captured inside the microbes’ primordial burrows.

    “One of the criticisms of our earlier work was based on the analogy that just because the London underground was dug into million-year-old rock, that doesn’t make the underground a million years old,” said Banerjee. “This time, we dated the fossil itself. To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has directly dated an archean microfossil.”

  56. #57 Dr. Bossnotes
    May 29, 2007

    This is my first comment on this site, but I’ve been a reader for some time. (I love the content and devour it religiously…oh, ooops, I mean, so to speak…)

    I am from the Cincy area and attended yesterday’s “Rally for Reason“, the organized protest that was located right in front of the “museum” entrance (it’s actually just an amusement park, folks…really and truly just that). I was there in the morning for about three hours, standing on the side of the road in damp grass defending crucial aspects of the Enlightenment. I think most of you would be delighted to know that there were probably 100-200 people there at any given time, holding up signs promoting real science education over myth and superstitious nonsense. There were also some great speakers at the event, including Dr. Krauss (who gave the keynote speech and then spent a great deal of time interviewing with various media crews), local evolutionary biologist Dr. Gene Kritsky, Hemant Mehta (he’s got blog posts on the event), and Edwin Kagan, the legal director for the group American Atheists. The Smalkowski family was also there, speaking and providing music for the event.

    It was a great day for speaking out against Ken Ham and his awful lies – but I saw BUSLOADS of kids coming into the place. This is the main reason this slick but vacuous testament to testament needs to be seriously countered (someone said Ken Ham “uses the bible to prove the bible”, which summarizes it quite succinctly). I don’t know for sure when the next protest would be (maybe around July 4?) but please, if you are in the area, try to make it to the next event if you care about science education. The website, again, is rallyforreason.com

    Sorry for the long first post, but I thought I might find some sympathizers here in Captain Myers’ Cabin…

  57. #58 John Danley
    May 29, 2007

    What scares me is that the bible is not very dynamic either but it seems to stick around. I suppose the financial overhead might deter future success. Unless AIG “creates” their own defense military.

  58. #59 CS Lewis Jr.
    May 29, 2007

    What’s a “coffle”? It this a Midwesternism of some kind?

    I love the coconut-eating T Rex and I demand a T-shirt of one forthwith. You listening, Ham?

  59. #60 Dr. Bossnotes
    May 29, 2007

    to #58 (John Danley): Actually, AIG does have its own defense military — I saw a few scary-looking K-9 vans (yup, they gots attack dogs) and a huge and very expensive black iron fence around the perimeter.

  60. #61 John Danley
    May 29, 2007

    Chris Hedges is up to the same tricks. What is funny is that Ham and Hedges need meaning in their life. If I want meaning, I’m sure as hell not gonna look on the shelf at Lifeway Christian Bookstores.

  61. #62 Gary Hurd
    May 29, 2007

    When “debating” with the likes of Ken Ham, there are several points that we sould make over and over;

    Science does not address the existence of God(s), but can examine the truth of statements regarding the physical universe made by religions, cults or superstitions.

    Young Earth Creationism violates Christian scripture. This is not a scientific problem, it is a theological problem.

    Using lies to support a YEC interpretation of the first few pages of Genesis is more likely to undermine Christianity than is science.

    I expand on these observations at Stones and Bones. (Yes I broke down and started a blog).

  62. #63 J-Dog
    May 29, 2007

    “coffle” – what you use to transport slaves that might have a tendency to run away…. Very appropriate, IMO

  63. #64 Lawrence M. Krauss
    May 29, 2007

    have skimmed the comments.. was not very satisfying, as I expected it wouldn’t be.. but I tried to get some discussion in my 30 seconds about the nature and importance of science..question was whether it was worth it to try and reach a broader audience.. biggest problem was it was supposed to be 7-10 min, which is why I had agreed to do it… thought in 3.5 min I might say something.. then it got cut by a factor of 2 as we did it, and the host basically departed from the issues we had discussed in advance to talk about his religious beliefs.. anyway, one never knows if these things are worth it.. but I think one has to keep trying (and to one of the comments.. I disagree, I thought I was more telegenic.. šŸ™‚ )..

  64. #65 Stanton
    May 29, 2007

    In regards to Christian Burnham’s comment in #50, can someone explain to me why would Christians who refuse to acknowledge an interpretation of the Book of Genesis that requires one to lie, demonize differing viewpoints and deny reality be regarded as hypocrites?
    In that case, would those Christians who refuse to round up non-Christians, rowdy children and eaters of shellfish to be stoned to death be also regarded as hypocrites as well?

  65. #66 Dr. Bossnotes
    May 29, 2007

    to #64 (L. Krauss) – Thanks anyway for doing the show but also for being at the Creation Museum protest rally earlier on the same day; wished you could have given THAT speech on O’Reilly. I found your presence/presentation at the rally inspiring.

  66. #67 Christian Burnham
    May 29, 2007

    Stanton: Yes, I agree. I’d also like to see true Christians lobby for the right to stone their unruly children to death.

    What I don’t get are the Christians who profess to be religious and yet pick and choose bits from the Bible. Krauss is completely wrong to think that true Christians should accept evolution.

  67. #68 Marcus
    May 29, 2007

    My favorite Ken Ham quote from the interview:

    “If there’s a God who OWNS you, he sets the rules…”

    Why would you ever want to hope or have faith that there is a permanent celstial overseer who owns not only your life here on Earth, but also your soul for all of eternity? The idea that we were created for the sole purpose of bowing down and worshiping our creator is a sick and disgusting meme. I wish more theists would think a little more about how truly awful a concept that is. I suppose the fear of eternal torture for not believing the meme makes it the lesser of 2 evils, though, so they are willing to accept being owned in exchange for not being thrown into a lake of fire.

  68. #69 Kseniya
    May 29, 2007

    Susan (#29) wrote:

    It’s depressing to see such nice work put into something with so stupid and harmful a purpose.

    Some might say that this is one of many other good examples. Sigh.

  69. #70 Stanton
    May 29, 2007

    So, then, Mr Burnham, if you have an enemy, do you a) kill him, his entire family, his neighbors, his animals, and burn all of his property and worldly possessions into ash because his existence is an abomination before God, or b) make peace with him because both of you are God’s children?
    The Bible says to do both things, and according to your logic, doing one and not the other will make a Christian a hypocrite either way, if only because I find it impossible to make peace with a person by annihilating him from existence.

  70. #71 Kseniya
    May 29, 2007

    Good point, Marcus. That one word – “owns” – made my antenna twitch. The implied view evokes the notion that we are nothing more than the playthings of a petulant, childish super-being.

  71. #72 Patrick Quigley
    May 29, 2007

    KASICH: No, but there are a heck of a lot of scientists that say, that discount God, and that’s the problem —

    KRAUSS: I agree. We need less of that —

    No, we need more of that. So long as theistic scientists like Owen Gingerich, Stephen Unwin, Francis Collins, and Ken Miller keep claiming that science supports their claims of existence for their various gods, we need other scientists to point out that they are completely wrong.

  72. #73 Christian Burnham
    May 29, 2007

    So, then, Mr Burnham, if you have an enemy, do you a) kill him, his entire family, his neighbors, his animals, and burn all of his property and worldly possessions into ash because his existence is an abomination before God, or b) make peace with him because both of you are God’s children?
    The Bible says to do both things, and according to your logic, doing one and not the other will make a Christian a hypocrite either way, if only because I find it impossible to make peace with a person by annihilating him from existence.

    Certainly not. But then, I’m not religious, and I’m certainly not a Christian.

  73. #74 Stanton
    May 29, 2007

    So, then, I take it you don’t care crap about those Christians who might be offended at your implication that they’re hypocrites for not reading the Bible literally in order to interpret science, especially when the ancient Hebrew authors who originally wrote it never intended the Bible to used as a science textbook to begin with?

  74. #75 Kristine
    May 29, 2007

    I thought I was more telegenic.. šŸ™‚

    You were, Larry. Ham looked angry. He looked like the scary old hermit grump down the street on whose lawn you’d better not lose a ball.

  75. #76 Ian
    May 29, 2007

    “If there’s a God who owns you, then he sets the rules…”

    People who think that God defines morality depress me. They don’t seem to realize that this rules out believing in a morally good God a priori. Thinking of God as our rule-defining slavemaster is a new low.

  76. #77 Rey Fox
    May 29, 2007

    Marcus #68:
    Nice to see them come out and state it so baldly. That’s why all that talk about “meaning” and “purpose” falls flat with me.

  77. #78 Christian Burnham
    May 29, 2007

    So, then, I take it you don’t care crap about those Christians who might be offended at your implication that they’re hypocrites for not reading the Bible literally in order to interpret science, especially when the ancient Hebrew authors who originally wrote it never intended the Bible to used as a science textbook to begin with?

    Yup. It really isn’t my concern whether Christians take offense at anything I write.

    I’m willing to listen to any reasoned argument, but I don’t care for treading gently around their hair-trigger religious sensibilities.

    After all, I didn’t make it up- it’s their Bible that talks about stoning errant kids. Don’t blame me for their scriptures!

  78. #79 jpf
    May 29, 2007

    To the commentators puzzled by Ham’s beard: I don’t think you see the subtle deviousness of what he’s doing.

    YE Creationists hold that all the hominid fossils found can be divided into either humans or apes, with no transitional forms. By making himself look like he stepped out of a diorama in the Hall of Human Evolution, Ham is trying to make people subconsciously conflate proto-humans with modern humans.

    (I wouldn’t be surprised if we learned AiG was secretly funding the advertising agency that does those Geico ads with the sensitive cavemen.)

  79. #80 Fatboy
    May 29, 2007

    …the ancient Hebrew authors who originally wrote it never intended the Bible to used as a science textbook to begin with

    They may not have been intending to write a science book, but I bet they were intending to write what they thought was an accurate historical account. What’s the point of the geneologies going back to Adam if he was just an allegorical character?

  80. #81 Fatboy
    May 29, 2007

    I meant “genealogies,” not “geneologies.”

  81. #82 edhel
    May 29, 2007

    ::HEADDESK::

  82. #83 Davis
    May 29, 2007

    Out of the 4,000, how many came to laugh?

  83. #84 Oh, fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy!
    May 29, 2007

    Eh? Lawrence Krauss uses smileys!

  84. #85 Christian Burnham
    May 29, 2007

    I hate CNN.

    CNN gave almost an entire second to the protesters outside the Flinstone’s museum in their report today. Ham got about 30 seconds to speak and the token skeptic managed to get out a whole sentence.

    Did I mention I hate CNN?

  85. #86 ordinarygirl
    May 29, 2007

    “Why is it not acceptable that evolution and creationism can be compatible?”

    /boggle

    Because the earth can’t be both 6,000 and 4 and a half billion years old. Some things just will never be compatible.

  86. #87 Azkyroth
    May 29, 2007

    Why is it not acceptable that evolution and creationism can be compatible?

    Occam’s Razor, perhaps?

  87. #88 John C. Randolph
    May 29, 2007

    Calling it “junk science” is a misnomer. It’s not science at all.

    The facility in question isn’t a museum, it’s a shrine in a slightly-different format.

    -jcr

  88. #89 Science Avenger
    May 29, 2007

    Their attendance is going to drop off rapidly from this point on, and after all the skeptics make their one-time-only visits, there isn’t going to be much to draw in repeat visitors. Real museums have to sink a lot of money and effort into ongoing research and new exhibits; they aren’t dead and dusty halls of unchanging eternal truths, but dynamic reflections of work that is progressing.

    Yeah, Calgeorge beat me to the punch on this, but they need a full year of opening-day receipts to get the investment back. That’s a tall order.

    On the other hand, they don’t have the limitations that real science museums have of showing only, you know, real stuff. Their business model is going to be more like Disneyworld: just make up a new exhibit every few months, the more creative and colorful, the better. In the near future I’d expect a virtual reality game there where the kids are chased by laughing dinosaurs in some sort of lame tag game. There are no limits to what creationism can encompass; the true, the false, the poorly defined, whatever. It’s the ultimate big tent.

  89. #90 Akshay
    May 29, 2007

    Eastern religion is where it’s at.

    Seriously though, I find much good within Christianity, but it pains me to see how, like with all religions, some people cannot alter their views, see the metaphorical importance of some text, and be confident enough in their spirituality so that they don’t have to exert it so vehemently upon others.

  90. #91 Ray
    May 29, 2007

    Re: Ken Ham’s creepy beard, dead eyes, etc. I have a theory that the charismatic fanatic is often a psychopathic or sociopathic personality. Ted Haggard (seen in the clip where he confronts Richard D.) has something of the same quality — is the glassy eye something they cultivate, or is it innate?

    The best con-man is the one who believes his own lies.

  91. #92 Keanus
    May 29, 2007

    The only way Ham’s folly will survive is to install more biblical dioramas and hold special worship services. I’m now retired but I was once a science text book publisher/editor and later the CEO of a science laboratory supply house that served K-12 schools. Credit was never an issue when selling to public schools, Roman Catholic schools, or long standing private secular school (long standing protestant schools affiliated with the mainline faiths were also good for their money). But Christian academies, many of which began life as “white-flight” academies, were notorius for not paying or being unable to pay their bills. With them it was always cash up front before we’d ship, books or lab gear. And should an order slip through and be shipped without payment, it was absolute hell collecting, with the bill often going to a collection agency.

    My point is that Ham’s folly will not be supported by private Christian academies bussing in hordes of budding Christians. Those schools just don’t have the money or the enrollment Ham needs to support on-going operations. And it will only be those Christian school kids who offer him any hope, since very, very few public schools will risk ponying up any money for a field trip. I think the place will endure for only a few months, before it has to shut its doors at least temporarily while Ham searches for a Plan B.

    By the way, I think 4000 on opening day, a holiday at that, is pathetic. Ham’ll be lucky to get one tenth that on a regular day in the months ahead.

  92. #93 Chi
    May 30, 2007

    Well, I was a little heartened by this interview–it could’ve been much worse. The basic fallacies of Ken Ham’s stump were exposed, and Krauss competently deflected the host’s reasonable viewpoint (the “Presidential” viewpoint, maybe I’ll start calling it).

    I’m not sure what good it will do–it is still the leaders which congregations trust that will keep the money rolling in. Pastors (and worse, deacons) are the problem. People… will be functionally ignorant of science for much time to come, and that’s just the way things are.

  93. #94 arachnophilia
    May 30, 2007

    i’ll give ham one point:

    a literal genesis is incompatible science.

    if someone were to actually read the book, they’d find stuff a little more preposterous than this “seven days” business. they’d find a depiction of the universe something like a giant inside-out snow dome. a very antiquated view, and very much in line with the sumerian (and maybe even egyptian) views of the universe — stuff ken ham wouldn’t hestitate to call “myth.”

    but i also think this non-literal stuff is baloney. it’s literal; it’s just wrong. it’s what we’d expect people who lived 2600 years ago to have written. perhaps this is what functioned as science then, but it certainly isn’t science as we understand it today. and i really wish people would stop trying to mix them up. it does both a disservice.

  94. #95 windy
    May 30, 2007

    Re: God and slavery, I am reminded of a classic putdown on alt.atheism:

    ————–
    L. Raymond wrote:
    : On 17 Oct 1999, MrGoodSalt wrote:
    :> So, if God exists, and He is your creator, He is good,
    :> and loves you, paying Him the respect of kneeling
    :> before Him, and acknowledging His right to be your
    :> leader, and to even enjoy having Him as your leader –
    :> you call that slavery?

    When you phrase it like this, it is obvious what you describe is not slavery. It is a thousand times worse than the most degrading slavery ever inflicted by one human on another. You do not want people to simply bow meekly before your idol; physical debasement is not enough. You demand that people allow their minds to be corrupted as well. You would force them to *enjoy* crawling through the dirt, squirming mindlessly through the dust towards this demiurge you posit in order to thank it for the opportunity to abase themselves. To what end?
    ———-

  95. #96 Science Goddess
    May 30, 2007

    At the risk of getting slammed, I have to disagree with most of you. Bashing some Xtians is not the way to go here. There was an excellent article in a recent Science journal about design and evolution. The first is more intuitive, the second more rational. The interviewer on the show tried to bring the two sides together, and I think did a pretty good job in the time allotted. There is room for both, but the Xtians will have to let go of literalism.

    When I teach evolution in my post retirement job, I do the whole thing, genetic variation, gene duplication, natural selection, etc. This is the left brain talking. Some of my students want to discuss more (after class, of course) about design. I think that the belief in a god (in a spiritual sense) is compatible with nature, and natural processes, even evolution. The students say that evolution is incompatible with religion. My reply is that RELIGION MAKES GOD TOO SMALL.

    Let’s assume for a second that there is some kind of being out there (Michael Shermer says we’re hard-wired to believe this). Why would such a being care whether we worship on Friday, Saturday or Sunday? Etc. We do these things to separate “us” from “them”. Catholics and Protestants, Sunni and Shia. It never ends.

    What we should be looking for is a more inclusive feeling here. It’s not the lines we draw that separate us that are important, it’s the lines we draw to connect us. I can left brain science with the best of them, I can talk about photosynthesis, plant evolution, the electron transport chain, but when I put a seed into the ground and later have food to eat, it looks like a miracle to me. That’s the right brain talking.

    We have to use both sides of our brains, folks.

    SG

  96. #97 Science Avenger
    May 30, 2007

    Anyone know what the receipts were like for day 2? That’ll give us a good idea of where this is headed.

  97. #98 Steve_C
    May 30, 2007

    Yeah. We’re just not making our god inclusive enough.

    Right. (Insert eye roll here)

  98. #99 Jason
    May 30, 2007

    Some of you all spend more time talking about what Ken Ham looks like than what is says. Maybe you should be posting on some Paris Hilton site.

  99. #100 Ichthyic
    May 30, 2007

    . The interviewer on the show tried to bring the two sides together, and I think did a pretty good job in the time allotted. There is room for both, but the Xtians will have to let go of literalism.

    ridiculous.

    here’s your argument taken a few hundred years back:

    intuitivist:

    the world is flat – hell i can see it is just by looking at it.

    scientist:

    uh, no, it’s round, and I have proof, you just need to learn to understand what the proof is, and why it is counter-intuitive.

    oh yes, such a good idea to think the two positions can be melded.

    *sigh*

  100. #101 Science Avenger
    May 30, 2007

    Some of you all spend more time talking about what Ken Ham looks like than what is says. Maybe you should be posting on some Paris Hilton site.

    That’s a subtle form of derision. His ideas are too goofy and easy to debunk to hold our attention for long, so it’s natural to go from observing he talks like a clown to noticing that he looks like one too.

    Funny you mention Paris Hilton, for she is the perfect symbol of the Hamster Creation Exhibit:

    1)Fame purchased with a lot of money, sans achievement.
    2)Ignorance flaunted.
    3)All flash and no substance.
    4)Laughable cries of persecution.
    5)Far more interesting to the more childlike among us.

  101. #102 zayzayem
    May 31, 2007

    curses

    he still has an aussie accent.

  102. #103 Kseniya
    May 31, 2007

    Why would such a being care whether we worship on Friday, Saturday or Sunday? Etc.

    Good question. I agree that the whole worship thing is rather silly, but here’s another question for you: Why would such a being NOT care? How can we possibly know what such a being cares about or why? We do know that some beings care very much that their subordinates file their expense reports on the last Friday of every month, and that others care very much that their subordinates eat (rather than throw or wear) their strained peaches. Etc. The subordinates in each case may or may not know or understand the motives behind the expectation, but the not knowing has no bearing on either the reality of, or the insistence on compliance with, the expectation.

    I certainly agree with the notion that most religions makes their god(s) too small. (Hinduism and Deism are amongst the few possible exceptions.) I think I understand what you’re getting at with respect to the right-brain, SG, but are we to accept that the sprouting of a seed is literally a miracle? I’m all for wonder and awe of nature, but do not believe any supernatural agent is required to catalyze the countless millions of little miracles that occur every moment. Are you saying that a shared appreciation for the wonders of the universe is something we can use to draw one of those connecting lines, irrespective of theology?

  103. #104 Science Goddess
    June 1, 2007

    Thanks for your comments, Kseniya. I didn’t say it WAS a miracle, I said it LOOKED LIKE a miracle. If I look at some wonderful things, let’s say pregnancy and the “magic” of the placenta, or seed sprouting, or DNA replication. I can understand these things on a scientific basis, but they’re so wonderful (as in full of wonder) that I am awed. Religion, in a sense is fear plus control. Fear of the unknown, and attempts to control it. Prayer is an attempt to control the outcome, and many religious fear that they will be outcast (society, heaven, etc) if they don’t publically believe.

    And to the meanie who called my thoughts ridiculous, I have to say that I know the world is round, but it sure looks flat. So in that sense, I can reconcile these opposites.

    Scientists have a great capacity to hold unknowns in their brains and be content. We do it every time we run an experiment. Both outcomes can be correct until we get an answer, just like Schroedinger’s cat is both alive and dead. The general public is nervous about unknowns. That’s why so many of my biology 101 students think biology is just memorization of words and facts, when it’s really about the process.

    SG

  104. #105 Kseniya
    June 1, 2007

    Hi Sci-Goddess,

    I didn’t say it WAS a miracle, I said it LOOKED LIKE a miracle.

    Ok, I figured that was what you meant, but I wanted to make sure I understood. My question really was just a question.

    I know the world is round, but it sure looks flat.

    Yes, it often does! As flat as a blanket covering two sleepers in a bed, perhaps, but still flat as opposed to spherical. This came up in the “dimensions” discussion last week: Locally, a sphere looks like a plane, and a circle looks like a line, and the local appearance of an object can provide us with a legitimate means of determining the dimensionality of the object. So, I think you’re twice-vindicated on the flat-earth charge. šŸ˜‰

    We seem to be on the same page on many things, but I’m not sure I really understand your main point. When you say there’s “room for both,” what exactly are you advocating?

    Virtually everyone, even PZ, uses the word “design” in a sort of casual, short-hand way of describing how thinks “look” – which is the intuitive view – without for a moment believing that the creature or feature under discussion was literally designed. I assume when you say “Xtians will have to let go of literalism” that’s what you’re talking about: the literal acceptance of what our intutive mind (incorrectly) suggests to us.

    So how do we achieve that “more inclusive feeling” you mentioned? By acknowledging the awe and wonder inspired by nature and the natural tendency for many people to interpret these wonders as evidence of a Creator or Designer, without holding that interpretation against them? If so, at what point do we start scolding them for refusing to promote knowledge over superstition?

  105. #106 Science Goddess
    June 2, 2007

    Hi Kseniya: There was a wonderful clip on (I think) YouTube in which Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes on Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is scolded for having too many “teeth” in his presentation. A lot like some of the posts above. I think “scolding” is perhaps too harsh. I know plenty of Xtians who are intelligent, thoughtful people who fully accept science in all its manifestations, but still believe in a god. I know caring, responsible thoughtful people who would be an asset to any community, except that they’re fundies. I can’t bring myself to “scold” any of these folks. What I do is try to show how evolution works, and present it in a non-threatening way. How they reconcile with their version of Xtianity is not my business. As I said above, Michael Shermer in his book “How we Believe” says that our brains are hard-wired to fabricate gods. Stephen Baxter in his book “Evolution” claims that early hominid shamans controlled breeding and thereby bred out the non-compliant. If these ideas are even remotely accurate, most people can’t help believing, and in a closed society (like the fundies) this is just reinforced. So why are we so angry? I know they sound stupid, but they, like us are the products of their genes and environment. We can change the environment, but we can’t pound and scold them.

    Of course, none of this applies to the rip-off artists out there who are out to make a buck, the Falwells and the Hams and the Hovinds.

    SG

  106. #107 Gordon
    December 20, 2008

    You may enjoy this photo of the ubiquitous Mr Ham:

    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/gordonhudsonnu/Sillypics#5159736150297393762

    I am a naughty, naughty boy and I deserve to be punished for eternity for that photoshop exercise.

  107. #108 Emmet Caulfield
    December 20, 2008

    There was a wonderful clip on (I think) YouTube in which Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes on Richard Dawkins.

    It is indeed wonderful; from the original Beyond Belief conference:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_2xGIwQfik

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.